I’m not sure I have written a single post about immigration. I guess that might be my subconscious attempt to not alienate some dedicated readers who may disagree with me. But now I feel like I have to say something about immigration in defense of the best bet for America to start fixing its dire political state: Rand Paul.
I just read an excellent Daily Caller article that points out all the reasons why Paul needs to be the 2016 GOP nominee for the sake of the party (not that I necessarily care about the GOP), for the sake of Libertarianism (or the closest the White House has come since Coolidge), and for the sake of America. For anyone who thinks Rand Paul isn’t Ron Paul-y enough, just remember that Ron Paul will have a direct line to the White House, and has influenced Rand all his life. This will not be choosing the lesser of two evils, Rand Paul is actually a good pick, despite the fact that he is not perfect. If you are waiting for perfection then why bother, you’ll have to wait for the afterlife.
So it seems like Rand is someone who Libertarians can coalesce around, even though he is not a clone of his father. Unfortunately, judging from the comments on the Daily Caller article, from reading other pieces over the past few months, and from conversations with more traditional Republicans, some people might think Rand Paul is too Ron Paul-y. I shake my head in disappointment as a firm believer that if Ron Paul was President, America would actually be on the correct path at the moment, but let me get back to the point at hand, and address what Rand Paul has said on immigration: one of the his main “turn offs” for traditional GOP voters.
I’ve got a news flash for those who want to call people names on amnesty. What we have now is de facto amnesty…
I would say if you want to work, we’ll find a place for you, but that doesn’t mean that you get special privileges…
It just means we’ll get you a work visa. Work visas, really, we have plenty of work visas to give every year. We’re not giving them out because the process is too onerous. So we need to make the facility of getting a work visa much easier.
And that is about as extreme as he gets. And he’s not wrong. Failing to reform immigration because we don’t want to “reward” illegal immigrants means that we continue to have 11 million illegal immigrants living in our country without being able to properly put them through the justice system for crimes, and without them paying taxes (how can I sign up to be an illegal immigrant?).
Let me also point out that Rand Paul supports securing the border, which is a must when dealing with this immigration issue, since addressing illegal immigrants without stopping the further flow would be a band-aid that would quickly fall off. He voted against last year’s immigration reform which would have failed to secure the border, so really Paul is not extreme on this issue, he is thinking long term, as opposed to knee jerking.
He also introduced amendments to last year’s bill that included abolishing a cap on work visas in favor of allowing the free market to decide how many jobs can be found in the US for immigrants. Apparently many immigrate illegally if they cannot get a work visa—and if you want a work visa you aren’t really the type that will be collecting welfare. So this position alone would go far in curbing illegal immigration and ensuring those immigrants don’t leech off the system.
And in my humble opinion, I don’t think the majority of illegal immigrants could be considered malicious. Yes, they did something illegal and ignored the rules, jumping in line in front of those who follow the rules. But to make the leap from there that these are terrible people is a bridge too far. Most of these people are escaping political oppression, war, and extreme poverty, which is not so much an excuse as context. I believe a lot of Jewish people illegally immigrated to countries surrounding Germany during the 1930’s and 40’s. This is merely an issue of the degree of oppression people face in their home countries.
Also, where is the benefit in deporting a criminal who is an illegal immigrant if they can just sneak back in? Not only have they not been punished or separated from society for their crime, but they end up in a better position than American citizen criminals. I don’t want these people to be given citizen status, but legal status could actually make us safer from illegal immigrant criminals. And would it really cost more tax dollars to deal with them in our justice system than to deport them, and indeed still use tax dollars to their benefit in other areas when they hop right back into the US?
Which brings up those who illegally immigrate and then collect benefits. This is happening right now, which is why I am confused by the people who don’t want illegal immigrants to gain legal status; if the border was secured, would this issue really get worse? And there would be more tax payers to fund these things. Anyway, denying legal status to illegal immigrants will not solve this country’s welfare debacle; that requires separate reform.
And again the logic of denying legal status because it would give Democrats a whole new block of voters does not quite make sense. Currently, illegal immigrants may be voting with false identities. Giving them, not citizenship, but legal status would do nothing to change this, except possibly cut down on it since these people would be in the system. Solving voter fraud is not a matter of denying legal status to immigrants, but requiring ID’s or other verification to vote.
Finally it is absolutely unjust to deport or punish illegal immigrants who were brought here as children by their parents, and do not know the culture or speak the language of their home country.
So to wrap this all up, legal status is not the same thing as citizenship; those with work visas and green cards cannot vote (and some illegal immigrants currently vote). Securing the border is a necessary step in immigration reform, and deporting 11 million people is not a long term solution, cost effective, or humanitarian. The taxes paid into the system by legalized immigrants would almost certainly outweigh the added costs, especially since the current situation involves paying out those costs, without taking in the tax dollars from under the table work.
If this is the worst thing about Rand Paul, we are in for a damn good 8 years.